Bruce Thornton is a Shillman Journalism Fellow at the David Horowitz Freedom Center.
After House Speaker Nancy Pelosi kicked two Republicans off the House investigation of the January 6 riot at the Capitol, the Democrats and their media flaks went into high gear to obfuscate Pelosi’s transparently partisan motive to ensure the investigation reaches the preordained conclusion: that Donald Trump incited an “insurrection” aimed at undoing the election results. In response to Pelosi’s obvious attempt to get the fix in, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy of California pulled all the Republicans from the commission (except for Rhino Liz Cheney).
As always, the Dems’ bare-knuckled “any means necessary” tactics are camouflaged with sophistries, logical fallacies, and begged questions presented as facts.
The progressive site Politico was the eager promulgator of such propaganda. The column is filled with hyperbole like “the deadliest attack on the Capitol in two centuries.” In fact, of course, the only fatalities were three protestors and a DC police officer who all died from natural causes, and Ashli Babbit, an Air Force veteran shot to death by a DC cop even though she posed no immediate physical harm to him or anybody else.
Equally duplicitous, or just plain ignorant, is the phrase “deadliest attack in two centuries.” Apparently, the three writers never heard of the violent attack on the House Chamber by Puerto Rican terrorists in 1954. As Congressmen were discussing the Mexican economy and immigration, the five assailants pulled out semi-automatic pistole and started firing down on them from the gallery. Five representatives were wounded in the attack, saved from death only by the attackers’ poor marksmanship. The terrorists were apprehended, tried, and convicted. One was released in 1978, and the others had their sentences commuted a year later by Jimmy Carter.
Or how about the 1998 attack, when a lunatic entered the Capitol and opened fire, killing two DC policemen? The killer made it to the offices of senior Republican representatives, as staffers crouched under their desks. He was shot by return fire from an officer he had mortally wounded, but the assailant survived. So much for “deadliest attack in two centuries,” or other hype like “deadly day,” used without mentioning that the only violent death was Ashli Babbit’s.
Then there’s the begged question, the fallacy of assuming as true a claim that hasn’t been confirmed by factual evidence. Just about every claim the progressives and NeverTrump Republicans are making about January 6 and Trump’s culpability for the riot are begged questions. But here’s a typical example from the Politico Dem court scribes: Rationalizing Pelosi’s Javert-like hounding of Donald Trump and her blatant attempt to rig the investigation, the writers counter Republican charges of Pelosi’s partisan machinations, “But the California Democrat and her allies insist it’s the best way to prevent a repeat of the deadly day when thousands of rioters stormed the Capitol bent on overturning a democratic election and threatened to kill members of Congress.”
We can set aside the claim that a long, politicized “investigation” is the “best way” to achieve anything other than to provide political benefits to the investigators. How did the two-year-long, $32 million Mueller investigation––which comprised rigged FISA warrants, illegal surveillance of American citizens, and other skullduggery––achieve anything other than politically tormenting a duly elected president so he could be driven from office? Cui bono there? And “thousands of rioters stormed” implies that they all entered the Capitol, when in fact at most only several hundred did.
And just how credible is “bent on overturning a democratic election,” which may have been the intention of some entering the Capitol, but was highly unlikely to be achieved by random, unarmed knuckleheads––certainly way farther from reality than the efforts of James Comey, Robert Mueller, and Barack Obama himself to “overturn a democratic” election in 2016. The federal government has vastly more dangerous powers it can wield than did the January 6 trespassers with their bear spray and shaman gear, and faced by armed police. Only the lack of a majority in the Senate kept the Dems’ coup-by-bureaucracy from succeeding in impeaching Trump.
Next, we move from historical ignorance and hyperbole, to one of sophistry’s most useful logical fallacies, the argument ad misericordiam, which uses theatrical displays of emotion to misdirect readers from the weakness or duplicity of the claims. Consider this tear-jerker from Democrat Congressman Karen Bass of California: “They wanted to kill her. They were hunting her [Pelosi] I don’t think this [the investigation] is a political calculation at all. You’re talking about the greatest assault on our democracy in over 100 years.”
Seriously? The Congressmen and staffers in the 1998 attack were much more in harm’s way than Congressmen on January 6, who were quickly evacuated. Such statements are pure bathos. They remind me of Birdie in All About Eve, after Eve Harrington narrates her fabricated, melodramatic biography: “What a story. Everything but the bloodhounds snapping at her rear.”
And, when it comes to an “assault on our democracy,” those five hours in the Capitol and minor vandalism are nothing compared to the Russia collusion hoax, which subverted the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, nothing compared to the banana-republic thuggery of the FBI and DOJ in its hounding of citizens being held for months without bail in long investigations of what in the main amounts to trespassing violations––at the same time Antifa rioters guilty of arson, vandalizing, assault, and other felonies enjoy the DOJ’s and state prosecutors’ catch-and-release policies. There are few “attacks on our democracy” more dangerous than the violation of the foundational principle of equality before the law.
Finally, the spectacle of progressives loudly decrying “assaults on our democracy” is utterly shameless. The Capitol is important not because it’s the corporate offices of Leviathan, Inc. The Capitol is the marble and brick embodiment of the Constitution, its balance of powers, divided government, and unalienable rights––everything the progressives for a century have been relentlessly dismantling, everything that the Democrats for the last few decades have been besmirching. A few hours of hooliganism was nowhere near the existential threat to our freedoms that the Dems represent.
Kevin McCarthy is right to keep his party clear from Pelosi’s Star Chamber. We know from the numerous House’s investigations since 2018 that such inquisitions are not about truth, not about the Constitution, not about our political freedom, but about power to be gained by any means necessary. Let the Dems and their collaborator Liz Cheney own what will be transparent propaganda against Donald Trump and his 75 million supporters, who will be reminded why they voted for Trump in the first place.
Republicans need to stay focused on one thing––regaining the House and Senate in 2022. Those collaborating with the Dems over a bogus, budget-busting “infrastructure” bill, those voting to confirm Biden’s radical cabinet appointments, need to stop. Their job is not to be “bipartisan” so they can “solve problems,” but to defend our freedoms and the Constitution. This is no time to go wobbly.